A PROGRAM FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE FAMILY
The family is the world in microcosm, the arena for individual and social development, and the workshop of civilization. Family, society, and civilization are closely interrelated, and the welfare and development of each is dependent upon the other two in this triangle of life and growth. The relationship between the family and society is organic in nature, and has a direct impact on the welfare and progress of civilization. In fact, no civilization is possible without sound, healthy families, functioning within the framework of a progressive society. The importance of both the family and society lies in several unique aspects of the human species: prolonged childhood dependency, multidimensional socialization, and the consciousness of self and others. These significant human characteristics form the biological, emotional, and social foundations for both the family and society and for their continued interdependent development in all civilizations.
THE FAMILY TODAY
The institution of the family is facing major crises today: one concerns the place of women and girls and their unjust and unequal treatment by boys and men. Such abusive practices are based on unfounded theories and assumptions and, in many parts of the world, continue to be justified as expressions of cultural norms and religious beliefs. Another important issue has to do with the role of the family in raising the next generation. As societies become more prosperous, with increasing numbers of women joining the work force and many fathers abandoning their parental responsibilities, many children are being reared by one parent or by individuals other than their parents, often in institutions outside the home. This is of grave concern, as the quality of parenting that these children receive is definitely inferior to what the children might receive from loving parents in a stable home environment. Yet another area of concern is the fact that, in some parts of the world, much violence and prejudice is committed against individuals outside the family, often justified in the name of family solidarity and “blood” ties. These and many other concerns raise legitimate questions about the family and its role in the contemporary society.
PURPOSE OF EFP-FAMILY
To create a learning occasion for members of families about the nature and dynamics of the healthy development of the institutions of marriage and the family; how to create unified and harmonious relationships; how to move from a power orientation to a love orientation; how to create unity-based families; how to practice gender equality in marriage and family; how to prevent excessive conflict and violence in family relationships; how to deal with everyday conflicts effectively and peacefully when they occur; how to make the family an abode of peace; and how to raise our children to become peaceful and peace-creating individuals.